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Associate Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Seth Abrutyn is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Riverside in 2009 and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute for Research on World-Systems at UC Riverside from 2009 to the spring of 2011. His areas of interest include General Sociological Theory and Human Social Institutions. In particular, he has two current research streams. The first is focused on the social psychological and emotional dynamics of suicide and its contagion, while the second focuses on the evolution and historical dynamics of religion.

In terms of the first stream of research, Dr. Abrutyn and his colleague Dr. Anna Mueller have recently begun a study collecting qualitative data on suicide. In particular, the study focuses on how people cope with a friend or family member's suicidal thoughts and/or behavior; the role emotions and other social psychological factors play in this process; and, how suicidal thoughts and behavior spread from one person to another. Their research has been published in the American Sociological Review, Sociological Forum, Sociological Perspectives, Sociological Theory, and the American Journal of Public Health.

Dr. Abrutyn has also been focusing on how and when institutions like religion or law become relatively autonomous from other institutional spheres. Similar to his interest in suicide, this work considers the role that social psychological and emotional dynamics play in the evolution of religions like Judaism. General theoretical and empirical work can be read in Sociological Theory, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, and Sociological Perspectives. In addition, he recently had a book, Revisiting Institutionalism in Sociology published with Routledge.


  • 2017–present
    Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia